BAT Kenya Faces Delay in New Nicotine Pouch Product Launch

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BAT Kenya Faces Delay in New Nicotine Pouch Product Launch
BAT Kenya's new nicotine pouch production delayed due to lack of regulatory approval, impacting $23.7 million factory operations.

According to the African media outlet BusinessDaily Africa, on May 7, the Kenyan branch of the British American Tobacco Company (BAT) is unable to meet the growing demand for its new nicotine pouch product due to a lack of approval from regulatory authorities. This has resulted in a delay in the operation of their 2.5 billion Kenyan Shilling (approximately 23.7 million US dollars) factory, which was intended to produce new products for the African market.


BAT Kenya noted in its annual report that despite strong performance in the local market, the supply chain was disrupted at the end of last year due to the factory still not being operational.


BAT Kenya stated in a report that, "We plan to expedite the reduction of tobacco hazards in 2023 and reintroduce our nicotine pouch products in the Kenyan market by 2022. However, by the end of the year, our supply of nicotine pouches in the Kenyan market was disrupted due to regulatory uncertainty. This also affected the commercialization of our modern oral nicotine products manufacturing facility."


In 2019, the cigarette manufacturer BAT launched its nicotine pouch brand Lifyt in the Kenyan market for the first time. However, it was banned because it was classified as a pharmaceutical product rather than a tobacco product. The ban was lifted in 2022 after the nicotine pouches were agreed to be classified as tobacco products by the Tobacco Control Committee. BAT reintroduced the product to the market in 2023 under a new brand, Velo. Despite various pressures, the new nicotine pouch manufacturing facility is yet to be implemented.


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